Any Given Sunday is master director Oliver Stone’s most overlooked film, and arguably the best of his career. The maverick director’s vision, style, and intelligent handling of the business surrounding professional football is an outstanding achievement. Stone and his co-writers have crafted an epic sports film that never loses focus and remains intensely watchable throughout. Any Given Sunday is remarkable for unconventionally covering familiar material.
The gritty world of professional football is captured in vivid detail in Stone’s film. The fictional Miami Sharks are the center of the picture’s focus and the script does an uncanny job of capturing the trials and tribulations of the fictional team. This is a squad beset by personality conflicts, health risks, backroom dealings between owners and city officials and all of it rings true.
When starting QB Cap. Rooney (Dennis Quad) is injured in the 13th game of the football season it’s up to back-up Willie Beamen (Jamie Foxx) to lead Sharks to the playoffs. After, a shaky start Beamen becomes an overnight celebrity and the darling of the sports media. However, Willie’s growing ego and lack of respect for his coach, Tony D’Amato (Al Pacino), threaten to derail the Shark’s season and Beamen’s career.
Any Given Sunday is expertly designed visually and extremely compelling from a narrative standpoint. The film does a deft job at sidestepping cliches and for covering the game from every angle, literally and metaphorically. This is an excellent sports drama that accurately portrays the NFL and their indifference towards personnel and safety regulations that were common in the pre-CTE era. Master director Oliver Stone crafted this look at
Director: Oliver Stone
Stars: Jamie Foxx, Al Pacino, Cameron Diaz